Re: IETF 107 and Corona Virus?

John C Klensin <> Thu, 13 February 2020 16:44 UTC

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Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2020 11:44:49 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Christer Holmberg <>
Subject: Re: IETF 107 and Corona Virus?
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I may be making the same point Jordi is trying to make but am
not sure.  I see three major sets of issues, especially for
those of us with chronic respiratory problems that are assumed
to put us at high risk.  For the latter, specific "don't go"
instructions are likely to come fairly late in the process.  As
as example, in my case, I asked about early registration and
cheap (non-refundable) flight arrangements and was told not to
do it but, if I get actual "don't go" instructions, they
probably won't come we are in to March.  Specifically:

(1) Were the powers-that-be to decide to cancel, we could try
going to an all-remote meeting, but I think that would require
considerable advanced planning and organizings.  I'm guessing
that, were we to cancel more than a month in advance of the
scheduled meeting start, we could sort that out although it
would require some effort.  A week or two in advance, it gets a
lot less likely and the odds of losing a third of a year (or
discovering that IETF f2f meetings have become unimportant) are
quite high.

(2) With the understanding that no meeting is typical, for a f2f
meeting there are going to be people (or their companies) who
are on the hook for:
	(i) Visa application fees and related costs
	(ii)  Flight and related reservations, possibly
	   including insurance costs
	(iii) Time away from "normal"/ "day job" work
	(iv) Hotel reservations
	(v) IETF Registration fee

Even if a company is covering those costs, they could reasonably
not take kindly to having a meeting whose expenses were
justified on the basis of what could be accomplished for the
company canceled with no possibility payoff

Now, of these, the IETF registration fee may, and usually does,
represent a small fraction of the total.  Of the others, only
the hotel reservations are likely to be able to be cancelled
without penalty, especially if someone has bought non-refundable
tickets and signed up for the meeting on an "early-bird" basis
to get the lowest registration fee (some companies won't allow
anything else).  The costs related to visa applications are
rarely refundable even if the visa are denied.  And, of course,
if someone gets (or does not need) a visa and flies to somewhere
close to the meeting location but then is quarantined there for
a couple of weeks, it may be impossible to cancel the hotel and
the flight(s) toward the meeting location will already have been

I think this leads to two conclusions: (a) In many cases, the
offer to refund the registration fee if a visa cannot be
obtained covers only a small fraction of the costs and, more
important, covers only a small fraction of the reasons why
someone might not be able to attend after planning to do so.
(b) If one is actually going to cancel, we are far better off
doing it early rather than last-minute (which might include
waiting for WHO or national health authority advice).


--On Thursday, February 13, 2020 14:42 +0000 Christer Holmberg
<> wrote:

> It is possible to participate in IETF meeting sessions
> remotely.
> Regards,
> Christer
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